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School board, sheriff can’t handle the truth

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Johnston County government and schools never cease to amaze. I support the May 22 Johnstonian News editorial, “Censorship calls for policy change on school board.” This is yet another one-act play in the theater of the absurd for Johnston County government.

The only thing I’d add is: How about a change in the school board? I emailed Ross Renfrow and every school board member regarding serious flaws in school security and my answer was the same as the sheriff’s — no response.

Trust me, if you write them about something serious, don’t expect a response. If you want to praise the high sheriff or the schools, then I suspect you’ll receive an answer. Remember the movie when Jack Nicholson’s character tells Navy lawyer Tom Cruise:“You can’t handle the truth!” Well, county government cannot, and they don’t even want to hear it!

In the case of inadequately trained school resource officers and the sheriff’s lack of transparency to produce training records of his SROs, I’d still like to know why each SRO costs the taxpayers an additional $70,000 when they’re paid and supplied by the sheriff. It is obvious to me after having emails showing that he hides behind the personnel laws that the training deputies should have doesn’t exist.

Sadly, we have a sheriff who is the only person in Johnston County to have a SWAT team at his disposal who doesn’t know the definitions of the words training, records and tactics. I can’t add the word strategy, as he’d be overwhelmed.

Same is true of the school board. If a discouraging word is heard, they cover their ears and start humming to themselves until the “negative” words are past. Oh, I forgot, you aren’t allowed to utter them anyway.

I have brought serious matters in the past to County Manager Rick Hester about unprofessional conduct against Sheriff Bizzell when I ran for sheriff in the 2014 election. Rick Hester told me in person that “He’s the sheriff, he can do what he wants!” I couldn’t believe he acknowledged that anyone had that level of power here.

After a few terms, people get comfortable and even power trumps money. I believe in term limits. Sheriff Bizzell clearly loves his power and wants his name on a new jail. Frankly, I wouldn’t, but there’s no accounting for taste.

Here in Johnston County we have a swamp not as deep as Washington’s politics, but our swamp is every bit as dark and needs to be drained. I don’t believe the school board has the best interests of our kids and teachers and my recent inquiries to Johnston government leaders have been met with little response in the past and no response lately, as they’ve circled the wagons and protect each other.

Johnston County parents, grandparents and teachers deserve far better and the editor should be supported in order to start affecting badly needed change.

Jim Davenport

Kenly

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